Coming off back-to-back hard-fought wins over the Kings and Rockets, the Suns (23-13, 2nd in the Pacific Division) begin an Eastern Conference-heavy stretch in their schedule, including a pair of home games against two of the league’s most dynamic guards.
Friday vs Miami
The Heat (17-16, 3rd in the Atlantic Division) have been up and down this season with many of their losses coming in heartbreaking fashion, including Wednesday’s overtime loss to the Celtics, in which Boston’s Rajon Rondo scored on an alley-oop buzzer-beating layup to force the game into an extra session. Dwayne Wade once again sits near the top of the Association in scoring and is coming off a 44-point effort against the Celtics. Player to watch: Former Suns three-point machine Quentin Richardson, who after bouncing around to four different teams in a calendar year has settled in quite nicely with Miami.
Monday vs Milwaukee
The Bucks (14-18) are often overshadowed in ‘Sconsin by the Green Bay Packers (go Cards!) but rookie point guard and almost-UofA Wildcat Brandon Jennings has breathed new life into a franchise that hasn’t enjoyed much success since Ray Allen, Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson and Sam Cassell led Milwaukee to the playoffs in the early Aughts. Jennings has started all 32 games for the Bucks and leads the team with 19 points and 5.9 assists per game. Player to watch: 7-foot Australian center Andrew Bogut is a matchup nightmare for the Suns.
Wednesday at Indiana
The Pacers (11-23, 5th in the Central Division) are in the running for the top pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, due in large part to key injuries, including All-Star forward Danny Granger, swingman Mike Dunleavy Jr., and top ’09 draft choice Tyler Hansbrough. This is the first meeting of the year between the two teams, which split last year’s series with each team winning on the other’s home court. Player to watch: A’mare Stoudemire, who scored 49 points in a 113-103 Suns win on Nov. 5, 2008.